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Gmail adds drag-and-drop attachments

Google's free Gmail service rolled out a nifty shortcut today: the ability to drag a file into a new message from your desktop to attach it.


That's how desktop mail programs have always done things, but Web-mail applications have traditionally required users to click an "attach" button and navigate to the desired file in a dialogue box. Now you can simply drag a file from any other window to a message you're composing; Gmail will highlight a landing area in green, into which you can drop the file to have it upload to the message. (The screenshot at right, taken from Google's blog post, illustrates how that works.)

I tried it, it works and it's neat. But this trick functions only in Mozilla Firefox and Google's own Chrome browser, not Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Apple's Safari or other programs. Google's post says it will enable drag-and-drop attachment in those other browsers "as soon as they support this feature"--which is a little funny, since Safari uses the same open-source framework as Chrome.

Today, Google also added an insert-invitation feature that lets Gmail users create a Google Calendar appointment from within a new message, see when friends sharing their calendars have free time and then embed an invitation in the message.

I appreciate the Gmail developers' craftiness. But I wish the people behind Yahoo Mail and Microsoft's Hotmail would try harder to keep up. At Yahoo, for instance, the most notable development appears to be somebody--finally--updating its account-options window so it no longer kicks users back to the "Classic" interface that was officially retired in 2007.

At some point, one of these competitors will try to offer a serious challenge to Gmail in terms of form and functions ... right? Right? Anybody want to hazard a guess in the comments?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 15, 2010; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  E-mail  
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This new feature is so cool! And thanks for the "automatic "sign in" to WP!

Posted by: bizlearn | April 16, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

It's great to see the folks at Google finally add this in as a feature. Makes things so much easier. I had been using a Firefox Add-In for drag/drop into gmail for the last year or so.

Posted by: db_in_va | April 16, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Rob. I use gmail and like it very much. Building on your story I would like to see drag and drop for incoming attachments (unless I missed something and it is available now), the capability to send .zip files (I use gmail in my consulting biz and have to go to my Netzero account to do that) and the ability to easily off load message folders onto one's computer. The cloud is great, but sometimes it makes sense to have critical messages there, too. Chrome is terrific as well, though there are the odd bugs. It is much lighter and faster than Firebox on my XP boxes.

Posted by: rkgood | April 16, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

On a side note, but related to Gmail, there may be a bug in gmail chat invisible mode

Posted by: hellow | April 17, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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